Tales from the Timebox: March 29th, 2021
The month of March is normally crazy busy at the A. G. Ross Arena. Especially the past three years; excluding last March of course, when things shut down. We hosted the Hockey Alberta Provincial finals three years in a row. First, we did the Midgets finals in 2017, the Bantams the next year and the Atoms in 2019. The skating carnival and the Jim Vinge Memorial Rec Hockey tournament also always happen every year in March. Which by the way, I have the distinct title of being the oldest player still able to lace them up and play. And lucky enough to have played a few years in the tournament with my own son Jordan. I even did the warm-ups with my 11 year old grandson Bode the last couple of years.
Unfortunately, not this year as we all know. In fact, we never even had a chance to play any minor or beer league hockey games at all since the beginning of December. But the teams did practice and practice and practiced some more. It was fun at first when it when we finally opened again in early February, but I’m sure it became a little bit boring after a few weeks of this. That was up until this past week, when the coaches of the Bantam U15, Peewee U13 and Atoms U11 put there heads together and came up with a skills competition. Three teams of ten players each. Picked from a mix the three ages groups, making the teams as close as possible in skill level. Also, to be sure to follow the total number players on the ice and social distance rules as per the Provincial government regulations. Each team competed in their very own time slot on the ice. The points were tallied up as a team to determine a winner. All legal, all good.
The first drill was a 45 second timed accuracy shooting. Each player had 45 seconds to shoot unlimited pucks at four targets. Each age group would shoot from a different distance, the youngest being the closest. Remington ‘Steel’ Reynolds with the U11 group hitting all four targets in only 19 seconds. In fact, he was the only U11 player to hit four targets doing it in less than half the time that was allowed. Moving back to a further distance away, the U13 players ‘Wild Wyatt’ Fontaine nailed four targets in 32 seconds, ‘Without a Trace’ Morgan with four targets in 43 seconds, Kale ‘the Hawk’ Ockerman doing all four in 44 seconds and Notorious Nolan Ballas doing all four in 45 seconds. U15 player, the sniper ‘Top Gunner’ Crawford hitting all four targets in 21 seconds from the outside the hash marks. Top Gunner was the only U15 player to hit all four.
Next up the agility skills. Stick handle through obstacles against the clock, with one shot on the goalie as a bonus. The top three all U15 aged players, Top Gunner with a time of 31.93 seconds. Top Gunner sniping a goal to boot, ‘Kid Kade’ Fontaine with a time of 33.07. The U15 goalie Alex ‘Plywood’ Patterson with a big save on the Kid. ‘King Kong Konnor’ Poitras with a time of 35.07, Plywood coming up with another huge save.
Then the hardest shot from the hash mark in each age group going to…. U15 player King Kong Konnor with a wicked 84 mph. shot. U13 the steady D man ‘Boe Dog’ St. George with a 47mph rocket. And U11 player Tristan ‘Bobcat’ Brousseau with 38 mph. bullet.
The final event, the fastest skaters per age group doing one lap of the ice. U15 King Kong Konnor just edging out Kid Kade Fontaine with a time of 15.97. U13 Braylee ‘Free Wheeling Willy’ Lesyk with a time 16.59 seconds. And not to be outdone by the boys, his sister, U11 aged player Avree ‘Mighty Mouse’ Lesyk with a time of 18.50 seconds the fastest in that age group.
What a terrific idea, coach Conrad Pierce and Carrie Baumgardner spearheading this event. Maybe we should do something like this every year. In my option competition makes you better and the skills is so important. Four of the most skilled players in the NHL game today were all on the ice at the same time Saturday night when the Oilers and the Leaf’s met on Hockey Night in Canada. My Leaf’s with a big comeback pulling it out of the bag in the end.